Monday, January 23, 2012

Retraction, clarification, and some other thoughts

After Joe Paterno's passing, I decided to post my opinion on Facebook. I'm not usually one to give my opinion on something that doesn't directly relate to a personal experience or something I strongly stand for, but for some reason I felt compelled to throw my thoughts out there.

I guess Facebook can do that to you.

My opinion-posting led to some good discussion (or typing, rather), with people offering questions and opposing viewpoints. I felt it was rather healthy...I love hearing what others have to say, and many times I learn and grow from it.

All too often, though, I witness people (myself definitely included) just "going with the flow" and quickly changing what they think so they fit in with friends or family. I'm the type of person that likes to get opinions from all sides, and then I'll make my own conclusion. Sometimes it's the same as what my friends and family think, and other times it's different. Most times, I only share if I find it necessary, and other times, I just put it out there for all to know.

Looking back, part of my posting about Joe Paterno was presumptive. Based on his life, I made the assumption that he did not have a relationship with Jesus and expressed my feeling that this was the saddest thing of all. That was me, looking in from the outside and not knowing him personally. His salvation would be between him and our Maker. Those of you who gently let me know that this is something that cannot be assumed just because he didn't outright express where he was with Jesus, I thank you and am grateful for your ability to speak up in a loving way. It made me think about how being a Christian looks and how many of us think it is "supposed" to look. Yes, we are supposed to live as Jesus did - having morals, living healthful lives, and loving people the best we can - but that can look different in various settings.

With that said, let me clarify the first part of my Facebook post...the part where I said I have a hard time overlooking Joe Paterno's lack of responsibility and concern for children and just focusing on his accomplishments at Penn State. In no way am I saying I think he was involved in the abuse. What I am saying is that he should have gone further to ensure the safety and well-being of those children. He didn't do the physical act...but his lack of action meant that it would continue. I often try to envision how others involved in the situation would feel. In this case, how would I feel as a parent of one of those children? Besides wanting to wring the neck of the abuser, how would I feel knowing that someone out there had knowledge of the abuse and didn't go further - or even inform me, the parent - to end it? That's when my maternal instincts would kick in, and I would be downright furious.

I do realize my mistake in assuming where Joe Paterno was with Jesus. I do realize this man meant a lot to people at Penn State and that he influenced many things for the good and that he used his knowledge and skills to teach and empower many. I feel for his family as they grieve. However, abuse of this capacity is just gut-wrenching, and, unfortunately, his lack of complete action still has consequences.


Adventures In Babywearing said...

Oh, I think we've all thought/posted/said something similar. Good perspective.


Mariellen said...

One of the reasons I quit facebook was because I found myself doing this often. I couldn't adequately express myself. I feel much free-er because I'm off there. I think there are a lot of positive things about that media, but for my personality and expectations, it was not a good fit. I prefer the blogging atmosphere, it's more complete and personal.